THE ICON: Patrick F. Taylor
THE LEGACY: He was a self-made billionaire, a charismatic oilman with a love for the theatrical and a streak of generosity. But before he was that, Patrick Taylor was what he described as “a penniless, scared, scrawny kid” growing up in Texas. So, in 1988, he decided to pay it forward. While on his way to deliver a motivational speech to a group of underachieving students at a local school, he decided he’d make them a promise: If they maintained a B average, he would personally pay their college tuition. Since then, more than 200,000 students are estimated to have benefitted from what has become Louisiana’s TOPS scholarship program.
THE ARTIST: Saegan Swanson, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “I want every kid in Louisiana to look at me and say, ‘If that dumb son of a bitch can do it, so can I.'” — Patrick Taylor, in 2004